We at The Takeout write about food every day, which means our most faithful readers (you guys are the best!) read about food every day. That constant stream of food news makes it hard to remember what was in the headlines a month ago, let alone what dominated the food headlines from January 2018, which I believe falls under the Pleistocene Age. Thankfully, a public relations firm specializing in food surveyed Americans to find out just which food story was the most-remembered of 2018.
Turns out the biggest food story of the year wasn’t actually about a food: it was plastic straw bans. The survey of 1,001 adults, conducted by Hunter Public Relations in mid- to late-October, found 51 percent of Americans remember the news of large companies and cities banning plastic straws this year. That news ranked higher than Dunkin Donuts’ name change to Dunkin’, romaine lettuce recalls, racial profiling at Starbucks, and the effects of the trade war on U.S. farmers, which round out the top 5 stories. This marks the first year in the survey’s 16-year history that an environmental story has earned the top spot.
The survey also found that Americans think food news is more important than ever, with 35 percent of respondents saying food and nutrition stories are “very important.” That’s the highest rate the survey has ever recorded, and was bolstered by Gen Z and Millennials’ high interest in the subject.
While the most memorable stories of the year were, frankly, kind of heavy—environmental destruction, racism, food safety—the foods Americans were Googling most were decidedly on the lighter side. Maybe that makes sense; watching videos of straws caught in turtles’ noses makes us want a CBD-infused unicorn cake, too.